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June 8, 2021

VTO: Why It’s Smart for Your Business

Part of our “Why” at PHOS is being a place where employees never want to leave and that the world is better for, and we know that engaged employees are happier, more productive employees. But how do we help our team members stay engaged? One way is by providing each team member with 8 hours of Volunteer Time Off (VTO), paid time off of work to give back to their communities through volunteerism, annually. We want to share some of our team member’s stories of how their lives have been impacted because of VTO, and why prioritizing it as a company is easier — and more important — than you may think. Read on to learn more about why VTO matters for your business.  

How Does VTO Help My Business?

Having someone wear your company’s logo while volunteering can be great free advertising, but what about how it benefits your internal team? Aside from the pride of contributing to the world around you, volunteerism is fast becoming a benchmark by which companies are measured against each other by job seekers. A 2017 Glassdoor survey revealed that nearly half of all employees surveyed expect employers to provide time to advocate for social change through volunteering. That means for every 2 applicants, 1 of them will expect employers to have some sort of time-off policy in place for volunteerism. 

Another study from Project ROI saw a 13% increase in employee productivity after investing in corporate responsibility. So not only will you have a bigger pool of applicants to choose from when hiring, your productivity as a business will reap the benefits of volunteerism as well!

PHOS Team members volunteering at Food4Kids
PHOS Project Team volunteering at a local food drive with Food4Kids.

Why Does Volunteerism Matter?

Unfortunately, not all social problems can be solved with a monetary donation, and some nonprofits stay in desperate need of helping hands. In March 2020, 93% of nonprofits lost their volunteer force. Those numbers have seen steady improvements since, but the effect that COVID had on volunteerism as a whole cannot be overlooked. VTO is a way that businesses can donate their resources to nonprofits that need help functioning now more than ever. VTO gives team members the opportunity to fill the needs that they see in their community as they contribute to causes they are passionate about at the same time.

“I’ve used my VTO with the Alachua County Humane Society. I was a huge advocate for animals and was passionate about socializing the cats in the shelter. I would go to the shelter and hang out with them in the cat rooms. I also fostered them and used VTO to take them to adoption hours during the week.”

-Jenelle, Senior Designer

Caring for Our Communities

It’s no secret that we value community at PHOS Creative, but how do we extend that beyond our own team? Giving room for employees to shape where they live improves the community both inside and outside of your business. 

In a study by UnitedHealthCare, 89% of employees reported that volunteering expanded their worldview, while 88% said that volunteering helped increase their self-esteem. Volunteering is a proven method to improve the lives of your employees and the quality of life in your community.

“I used VTO to serve at the Gainesville Community Food Drive last summer. This was a drive-up food drive in east Gainesville for people affected by COVID. I truly enjoyed working alongside people of all different backgrounds and demographics to help serve the people in our community who were in need during these incredibly tough times.”

– Chad, Inbound Marketing Executive

How Can I Implement a VTO Program?

Like any new business venture, starting a VTO program can be an intimidating process. Start by talking with your team and asking where they see a need in the area. Then, give them the opportunity and tools they need to serve. One way to foster participation in VTO is to make employees aware of volunteer opportunities. Some common places to serve include the following. Food kitchens

Next, you can lead by example. As the leader of your organization, if team members see you using VTO and the positive experience you have with it they will be more likely to use it themselves. Regularly remind team members that VTO is part of your company’s benefits package and encourage them to use it. Your business, your employees, and your community will be better for it.

“As an organization, we partner with Created Gainesville to give away time, talent, and treasures. It was so rewarding for me to volunteer for their annual fundraising event, Life Reclaimed. PHOS was able to give financially to Created just as I was able to give away my time to make sure that the event went smoothly. It’s one thing to work for a company that invests in the community, but it’s even better when they encourage us as team members to give ourselves away to organizations that need it the most in our hometown!”

– Bailey, Inbound Marketing Executive
Brandon West Volunteering with local nonprofit, Created Gainesville
PHOS CEO, Brandon West, hosting Life Reclaimed 2021, a fundraiser for Created Gainesville.

PHOS Cares for Our Community

VTO is a clear win-win scenario for communities, employees, and companies. But, are you still unsure of how to start your company’s VTO program or do you want to hear more about how we instituted our own VTO policy? Contact our team of community volunteers and let us know how we can help you help others.

Julie Anne Christmas

As an Inbound Marketing Executive, Julie Anne is passionate about using storytelling to communicate a client’s brand effectively. She believes in the power of clear messaging and interpersonal relationships for building a client’s engaging marketing strategy.

When away from her desk, you can find Julie Anne looking at airplane tickets, planning a dance party, or singing in the praise band at church. Her travels include over 10 states and 6 countries, but she is always looking to add another stamp to her passport. She loves her family, baking, and singing at the top of her lungs while driving.